Is technology a distraction in the classroom?

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According to a new study by the education technology company Instructure, U.S. educators are very concerned about technology’s potential for distraction in the classroom. The survey, which polled 650 U.S. educators, also found a general optimism about technology’s impact on improving learning outcomes, increasing access to education, and making its delivery more efficient for teachers and students.

While technology being a distraction is cited as a pressing concern, very few teachers have outright bans on personal technology in the classroom—this suggests that educators think the benefits of technology in learning outweigh the tradeoffs. The study also questioned educators about their personal opinions and habits regarding technology, and includes their rankings of the most effective technology tools in the learning process.

Additionally, educators were asked to rank their biggest technology concerns now and outline what they saw as the biggest concerns five years from now. Despite some concerns, educators are remarkably optimistic about the positive impacts of technology on key aspects of education. In fact, among those surveyed, only 23% actually ban personal electronics in the classroom. Here are some of the positive results Instructure found about technology in education:

  • 94% of educators say technology has had a positive overall impact on education
  • 92% say technology has made education more accessible
  • 84% say technology has made education more efficient
  • 81% say it makes them a more effective teacher
  • 77% believe technology enhances the ability to learn
  • 68% say it enables them to give more individual attention to students
  • Nearly 2 in 3 teachers say it saves them time
  • 66% believe it makes students more engaged

Educators' evolving views on educational technology may also reflect their personal views. Instructure asked teachers to think about their technology habits and their attitudes and behaviors as it relates to acquiring new devices or personal software programs. The survey also asked them about their personal feelings about technology. Here is what was found:

  • 93% of U.S. educators believe advances in technology are important
  • 1 in 6 educators consider themselves “early adopters” of technology
  • 5% of educators are indifferent about advances in technology
  • 3% rarely or never try technology themselves


U.S. educators have modern views on technology, and their favorable opinions of technology’s role in learning are reflective of the mainstreaming of technology in nearly every facet of daily life. While recognizing the tradeoffs that come from introducing technology into the learning process, educators believe the Digital Age has improved students’ ability to learn, increased access to education, and made the teaching process more effective and efficient for all involved.

To see the full study, visit Instructure's site

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